Received January 31, 2022:
Nambé: RESPECT THE LAND! Primum non nocere.
ATTN: Pamela Mathis, Field Manager, and Judy Culver, Assistant Field Manager
I am an avid New Mexico mountain biker and love to explore new and interesting areas. I’ve been all over the state in search of beautiful and challenging experiences. I belong to several mountain bike organizations and participate in trail building with the National Forest Service. My favorite areas are the East Sandias and Placitas. I’ve also traveled extensively around the desert southwest exploring Colorado, Arizona and Utah – taking special note of the local trail organizations and the work they do.
So last year when I saw the Facebook postings on Nambé, of course I became intrigued. I mountain biked there in March 2021. What I saw was both exhilarating and deeply disturbing. My most immediate impression was the fragility of the land and the un-sustainability of the trails. Not all the damage was done by mountain bikers though. Vast areas were devastated by cows. There were some interesting and beautiful spots I will admit but the trails along the delicate knife edges were especially troubling. I could see why my fellow MTB’ers have wanted to create radical Red Bull Rampage style trails. Alas, this is not Utah my friends. I have chosen not to return.
The recent Face book posting by the Taos Mountain Bike Association on Jan 30th shows 40 mountain bikers assaulting this fragile landscape! Large groups such as this do a great deal of damage to trails, here and elsewhere. The horrifying photo confirms the legitimate fears expressed by the Friends of the Nambé Badlands.
I have read the article in the December 5th Santa Fe New Mexican and visited the Friends of Nambé Badlands website. It is illuminating. I am also a surgeon and a principle taught in medical school is ‘primum non nocere
‘ — the Latin phrase coined by Hippocrates, Greek philosopher and physician, means ‘first, do no harm.’ We should apply this to our public lands as well.
As mountain bikers, we must first be stewards of the lands and sometimes put aside our self-interests to consider the views of others regarding these issues. Conceding this area could allow us to gain credibility in other public lands trails projects.
L.C., Albuquerque, NM